Game Recap: Running Wild to the Roses

Follow along for free with BadgerNation - the Internet's No.1 subscriber site for Wisconsin sports - on Twitter and on our drive blog. Wisconsin rushed for a school record eight touchdowns and racked up 539 rushing yards, the most the Cornhuskers have ever allowed, to beat Nebraska, 70-31, to win a third straight Big Ten championship.

INDIANAPOLIS - The criticism the Wisconsin's football team heard, or chose to ignore, all week was that they didn't belong in the conference championship game against No.14 Nebraska.

With the most dominant performance in Wisconsin postseason history in the books, the doubters have been quieted with a bouquet of roses.

Winning its third straight conference championship, Wisconsin scored on eight of its first 10 possessions to embarrass No.14 Nebraska, 70-31, in front of 41,260 fans at the second annual Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Field.

Becoming the first Big Ten team to play in three straight Rose Bowls since Michigan in 1976-78, Wisconsin (8-5) will now face Pac-12 champion and eighth-ranked Stanford (11-2) January 1 after the Badgers' three tailbacks ran laps around the Cornhuskers' heralded Blackshirts defense.

Melvin Gordon ran for 152 yards on only four carries in the first half and finished with a career-high 216 yards on only nine carries.

Montee Ball added touchdowns 80, 81 and 82 on a day where he rushed for 202 yards and junior James White ran for 109 yards, rushed for four touchdowns and passes for another with two seconds left in the first half to give Wisconsin a 42-10 halftime lead.

The intermission didn't stop Wisconsin, as the Badgers scored on their first three drives of the third quarter, the first of which was set by Devin Smith's interception – one of three turnovers UW forced against junior quarterback Taylor Martinez.

By the end of the third quarter, Wisconsin had already scored a season-high 63 points, racking up 550 total yards and 449 rushing yards against the conference's second-best defense.

Wisconsin's rushed for a school-record eight touchdowns and had two 200-yard tailbacks in the same game for the first time in school history.

Finishing with 640 total yards, Wisconsin's 539 rushing yards were the most Nebraska (10-3) has ever given up in its storied history, surpassing the 506 yards allowed to Oklahoma in 1956.

In addition to forcing three turnovers, including Marcus Cromartie's 29-yard interception return that put UW up 14-0, the Badgers registered a season-high six sacks.

coverage from BadgerNation.com – the Internet's No.1 Wisconsin subscriber site

Indy-Credible! Wisconsin throttles Nebraska for third straight conference title

Inside the Wisconsin locker room

BadgerNation's video recap of UW's dominant performance

Melvin Gordon sets the tone for historic rushing performance

Badgers Notes: Devin Smith a-ok after violent hit

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini transcript

Badgers Video: Tyler Dippel

Badgers Video: Ethan Hemer

Badgers Video: Curt Phillips

Wisconsin 70, No.14 Nebraska 31

First Half

First Quarter

7-0 Wisconsin

4 plays, 75 yards, 1:59 TOP, 13:01 left

Melvin Gordon 56-yard run (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: Showing a good variety on its first drive, Badgers gave Gordon the ball on an end around after faking it the play before. Gordon made one guy miss at the line of scrimmage, juked linebacker Sean Fischer and got a great downfield block from Jared Abbrederis to go untouched into the end zone.

14-0 Wisconsin

1 play, 29 yards, :08 TOP, 12:53 left

Marcus Cromartie 29-yard interception (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: Wisconsin couldn't have asked for a better start. On the Cornhuskers first play, Taylor Martinez's pass went through the hands of receiver Kenny Bell and right into the arms of Cromartie, who went untouched into the end zone.

14-7 Wisconsin

3 plays, 75 yards, 1:55 TOP, 10:58 left

Taylor Martinez 76-yard run (Brett Maher kick)

Key Play: Wisconsin debuted a new defensive line formation on an all-out blitz on third down, but reinventing the wheel still requires players to tackle and control outside containment. Martinez avoided two huge sack attempts, ran past David Gilbert and by everyone else, as the quarterback ran well over 100 yards on his scrambles that made UW look foolish.

14-10 Wisconsin

10 plays, 76 yards, 4:55 TOP, 4:46 left

FG Brett Maher 31

Key Play: Nebraska was gashing UW on the Cornhuskers third drive, as five of its first six plays went for at least seven yards and three over 16. That's why Mike Taylor bearhug sack on first-and-10 from its 19 was so vital for UW to stop the momentum.

21-10 Wisconsin

8 plays, 75 yards, 3:45 TOP, 1:01 left

James White 9-yard run (Kyle french kick)

Key Play: Melvin Gordon is making Nebraska pay early with his athleticism. Getting another carry off the end around, Gordon made two defenders miss at the line of scrimmage, turning a one-yard gain into a 24-yard gain down to the Nebraska 30.

28-10 Wisconsin

6 plays, 67 yards, 3:07 TOP, 11:11 left

James White 1-yard run (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: After Montee Ball connected with Russell Wilson for a big gain into the red zone last season, UW dusts off the play again. This time with Abbrederis running to his right, the junior hit a wide-open Curt Phillips for 27 yards down to the one-yard line.

35-10 Wisconsin

6 plays, 69 yards, 2:32 TOP, 7:15 left

Montee Ball 16-yard run (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: Dumbfounded is the expression at this point, as Wisconsin continues to pound the ball on the ground. Badgers are now at 19 carries, 187 yards (9.8 per carry) and four rushing touchdowns.

35-10 Wisconsin

6 plays, 69 yards, 2:32 TOP, 7:15 left

Montee Ball 16-yard run (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: Missing on Martinez on his 76-yard scramble, David Gilbert atones for the mistake by stripping the quarterback - Martinez's second turnover of the game - to give UW the ball back at its 45-yard line.

42-10 Wisconsin

4 plays, 79 yards, :59 TOP, :02 left

Sam Arneson 3-yard pass from James White (Kyle French kick)

Key Play: The future is now for Melvin Gordon, ripping off a 60-yard end around down the Nebraska sideline. What made the drive even more impressive was that he kept his legs turning, ran over three Cornhuskers defenders and got the ball down to the three-yard line.

Second Half

Third Quarter

49-10 Wisconsin

1 play, 9 yards, :05 TOP, 14:13 left

Montee Ball 9-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: Whatever Bo Pelini said at halftime didn't work. Scrambling, Taylor Martinez throws a pass across his body across the field right to Devin Smith, who returned the ball 22 yards down to the Nebraska 9.

49-17 Wisconsin

9 plays, 75 yards, 3:26 TOP, 10:47 left

Taylor Martinez 11-yard run (Brett Maher kick)

Key Play: Nebraska actually scored twice on the drive, as Martinez pass to Jamal Turner went 55 yards into the end zone, but Kenny Bell was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for launching his body into an unsuspecting Devin Smith. Smith walked off the field after being down for several minutes and Nebraska took over at the 32-yard line.

56-17 Wisconsin

3 plays, 75 yards, 1:20 TOP, 9:27 left

Montee Ball 57-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: Fall Belongs to Ball, as the senior broke two tackles just past the line of scrimmage and unleashed a stiff arm on Ciante Evans that buried him a foot into the turf. It has been E.A.S.Y. tonight for Wisconsin.

63-17 Wisconsin

4 plays, 80 yards, 1:55 TOP, 6:42 left

James White 68-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: This is getting embarrassing for Nebraska, as its defense has not showed up. James White with a simple handoff through the middle cut through the Nebraska defense like a hot knife through butter.

Fourth Quarter

63-24 Wisconsin

11 plays, 74 yards, 4:12 TOP, 12:14 left

Braylon Heard 9-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: David Gilbert was flagged for a foolish unnecessary roughness penalty off a sack that would have forced a fourth and long. Instead Nebraska got a first down at the UW 22.

70-24 Wisconsin

6 plays, 75 yards, 3:17 TOP, 8:57 left

James White 10-yard run (Jack Russell kick)

Key Play: Melvin Gordon has five rushed for 198 yards in the game. No, seriously, as the only reason Gordon's 46-yard run didn't go into the end zone was because the sideline got in the way.

70-31 Wisconsin

9 plays, 82 yards, 3:58 TOP, :51 left

Imani Cross 10-yard run (Brett Maher kick)

Key Play: Cross found a gap in Wisconsin's second-team defense and found his way into the end zone, a hard to reach place all night for Nebraska.

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